Chalking the White Horse

Thursday 16th May 2024

The Marlborough White Horse is located on College land on Granham Hill, overlooking Preshute, and is part of a cultural heritage network of eight Wiltshire hill horses which link to the prehistoric hill horse at Uffington in Berkshire. It was cut in 1804 by boys at Mr Greasley’s Academy, a separate school that closed in the 1830s, and which occupied the building that is now the home of Ivy House.

The horse was completely restored in 2021 by pupils working with the Estates and Gardening teams. This major restoration included the age-old tradition of scouring, which involves re-carving the shape of the horse, digging out the design, and laying new chalk, something that had not been undertaken for many decades.

This year’s work plan was slightly lighter: 17 Lower Sixth pupils have been working over three weeks to clear the horse of vegetation and weeds and then to re-chalk it, so the image of the horse shines brightly from the hillside once more. In total, three and a half tonnes of chalk have been compacted into the design and the pupils have spent more than 75 man-hours on the task. The final result means the Marlborough White Horse will be resplendent for all to enjoy for another couple of years.

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